What is the place of joy and complacency? When life is suffused with suffering, and it seems that every moment brings with it the potential for pain, what do we do with ourselves when we feel that veil lifting?
Seeing a moment of joy for what it is is a miraculous thing that has the ability to lift you out of your mundane attachments into a realigned perspective. The heavy pallor rises and suddenly your breath comes out of you more naturally and with a prayer of thanks and a smile. Striving for this kind of existence in which your very mode of vision is one of optimism and cheer, it is easy to feel complacent in the kind of “not quite yet” quality of seeing these moments in glimpses between your mundane and extraordinary struggles. That is to say, it is natural to feel that the cynicism and suffering will eventually return if given enough time.
Some say that these luminous moments give us hope for this perspective to arise within us in the future, that these spectres of joy compel us onward to begin seeing this way not spontaneously but as a manner of being. But for many of us, we eventually return to a life under the heavy pall; we get pulled undertow by the habits of negativity that we so naturally and defensively form. What do we do with that return; how do we fight the complacency of returning to that mode of life when we have tasted something sweeter?
That is the question that I ponder even now, in moments of luminosness and lightness. Perhaps the appropriate fear of complacency (fear, being that reaction to the potential of losing something that we love) will be the impetus toward refusing that sense of cynicism returning. Perhaps it is that love that provides our base, that keeps us from falling to a place from which we cannot recover.